Hedges or living fences, as they are sometimes called, combine utility with beauty. Aside from protecting our property from trespass by careless neighbors, canvassers, or solicitors, they lend an air of formal dignity, which cannot be given by a fence, no matter how ornamental.
Hedges define boundaries, give privacy and shelter, and provide a garden feature. Hedging is planted at high densities and so plants compete with each other from an early age. Consequently careful preparation and planting are essential. They are used as screens to promote privacy or hide the objectionable, while permitting the passage of air; also for windbreaks in exposed situations, and as a background for landscape features.
When the average home gardener thinks of a hedge, he usually refers to privet or barberry, which are much used for hedges because of their easy adaptability. The term does not necessarily mean rigidly pruned or restrained growth. Many flowering shrubs planted in a row will form a casual hedge of the more free-and-easy type. Some of these may be pruned or sheared to a fairly regular form.